MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Scott McCarron won the American Family Insurance Championship on Sunday, closing with an 8-under 64 for a one-stroke victory over hometown player Jerry Kelly.
The 52-year-old McCarron birdied Nos. 14-16 and parred the final two to hold on for his first victory of the season and seventh in three years on the PGA Tour Champions. He finished at 15-under 201 at University Ridge.
“All week, I drove the ball really well and I was hitting a lot of good iron shots,” McCarron said. “I hit a lot of greens. I think I made one bogey all week and that was early on Friday. Just missed a short putt, one of the par 3s and made bogey. Other than that, I really didn’t have any other opportunities to make bogeys. I just kept putting myself in play.”
McCarron looked forward to the stretch of three straight major tournaments that begins Thursday with the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado.
“Obviously, my game’s pretty good, just won this week, so I’m pretty happy the way I’m hitting it.” McCarron said. “I started putting better this week. I’ve got to work on my wedge game. I’ve got to wedge it closer. I have a lot of wedges out here.”
Kelly shot 65, also parring the final two holes.
“I’m disappointed, there’s no doubt,” Kelly said. “I want those putts back. I want to just go ahead and hit them hard.”
Kelly joked about friend McCarron paying him back for a friendly match with McCarron’s wife.
“My caddie, Eric and I, beat Jenny and Scott over at Maple Bluff Country Club earlier this week, beat them out of five bucks,” Kelly said. “I should have thrown that match.”
Fellow Madison player Steve Stricker, the tournament host and first-round leader, had a 65 to tie for third with 2017 champion Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie.
“The way it ended up, couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Stricker said. “Great turnout of people, the players loved it, and we got a great field and some exciting golf down the stretch.”
Couples had a 67, playing alongside McCarron.
“We all said it yesterday, with all those guys there, somebody shoots 7, 8 under will win – and I watched it today,” Couples said. “He was phenomenal. He played a stress-free, easy round of golf and I think I lost to him by two, but I was never going to beat him.”
Montgomerie followed a second-round 72 with a 64.
“I didn’t play well at all yesterday, at all,” Montgomerie said. “So disappointing yesterday … out here, 72, get trampled on.”
Paul Goydos (67) was 12 under, John Daly (67) topped the group at 11 under, and Bernhard Langer (69) was another stroke back.
University of Illinois coach Mike Small, Stricker’s teammate with the Illini, birdied the final hole for a 68 to also tie for 10th at 10 under.
Steve and I have been best friends for 30 years,” Small said. “It’s great to have him get me in the tournament and validate him helping me get in and getting an exemption. That’s huge. I finished top 10 in Iowa at Des Moines two weeks ago. It was my first top 10 in a Champions event. So, to back up with this, and this was a strong field, it feels good to compete.”
Second-round leader Esteban Toledo had a 73 to tie for 24th at 8 under.